Car maintenance help needed!
Jul 11, 2007 at 11:09 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 15

king896

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While I am somewhat tech savvy I am pretty clueless when it comes to car repairs and maintenance, right now I own a 2001 Honda Accord that I purchased used at around 60,000 miles 2 years ago. I have taken it for an routine oil every 3,000 miles for the past 2 years and replaced the battery 6 months ago due to some leakage.

Right now I am at 90,000 miles and I took my car in for its NY state inspection to a local chain mechanic store (Strauss Auto), they returned my car with a passing mark but they recommended a full car tune-up. I have no problem spending the money for this (over $400.00), but I really want to make sure I am not being ripped off by this company so any help would be greatly appreciated. (Personally I don’t feel the car has to many quarks yet it does idle a little loud compared my brother 2002 Accord, but it has always seemed that way), Also if you have any recommendations on what I should do in addition or as a substitute to this please let me know. As a side comment, I don’t feel comfortable taking the car to the dealer because it is located around a hour away from me and I have 4 car places right next to my house currently (Midas, Medico, Strauss Auto, and Pep Boys) that I would rather use.

Here is what they wrote down for me on the quote
P.M. Tune up / Ignition / Fuel SVC
Distributor Cap
Rotor?
Replace Fuel Filter
Replace Air Filter and PCV Valve
Lube Oil and Filter Change Conventional
4/Run Rite kit?
Replace Spark plugs
Replace Ignition Wires

Total Price quoted was $461.06
 
Jul 12, 2007 at 1:32 AM Post #2 of 15

Konig

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u are already ripped off on the maintenance it seems to me

5000 miles maintenance sounds more reasonable
 
Jul 12, 2007 at 1:39 AM Post #4 of 15

Lazarus Short

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Their recommendations are not too far out of line, but much of it you could do yourself. I replace air filters as a routine. I once replaced the distributor cap and wires on my Integra, and Accel wires at that. It made a world of difference in the way the engine ran. I am surprised they do not suggest a new timing belt.

Laz
 
Jul 12, 2007 at 1:52 AM Post #5 of 15

king896

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More information about the car
Honda Accord 2001 LX 4 cylinder, 4 Door automatic transmission
Hopefully thats enough information and thanks for the help so far.
 
Jul 12, 2007 at 3:11 AM Post #7 of 15

euclid

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honestly you can do what needs to be done from that list with like 1 hour and $50 at AutoZone.

definitily replace the distributor cap and rotor, the rotor spins with the camshaft and makes electrical contact with the distributor cap points to fire each cylinder, they wear over time and eventually your car will have trouble starting,you should be able to that entire job with a phillips screwdriver and a 10mm socket. dont worry about changing the ignition wires but note which way they fit on the distribuor cap before you take it off.

change the spark plugs, just get regular NGK no need for platnum dual spark whatevers(you dont even need a spark-plug socket just use a small piece of tubing to grip the plug when its unscrewed, the spark plug itself is probibly a 17mm socket an you need a 6" extension to get far enough into the head to reach the plugs).

dont worry about the fuel filter and you can clean out the injectors yourself by buying a bottle of injector cleaner thats to be poured in your gas tank(its basically alchohol). oil change is routine.

the air cleaner is straight forward just open the top of the airbox and take it out to phyically look at it, shake it out and see if dirt physically falls out of it, use common sense and if it remains really grimy just buy a new one which drops right in. again a screwdriver and maybe a 10mm socket are needed.

the PCV valve replacement is B/S if something with your intake/emision equipment/O2 exhaust sensor fails you will get a check engine light and just change it then, your O2 sensor is much more likely to fail. the RUN/4 whatever is probibly B/S too(unless it includes an O2 sensor replacement
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)

inspect your timing belt http://www.gates.com/brochure.cfm?br...cation_id=3373 if it looks shot use the $400 you just saved to have the dealer replace that, ideally it sould be done a 100k miles but if you are generally easy on the car it will last much longer.
lots of info online if you get confused
 
Jul 12, 2007 at 3:32 AM Post #8 of 15

Seaside

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In my opinion, It is bit expensive but not complete rip off when I think about time and labor. You are going to need those service sooner or later, because your car gets old. It is the NYC, what do you expect?
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However, if you know how to do that yourself, you will not spend more than half the estimate.

***

I recommend you ask them the breakdown estimate for parts and labor seperately. If they write something like... $10 per each spark plug.... or... 2 hours for replacing fuel filter..., I suggest you walk out of the store right away.
 
Jul 12, 2007 at 3:55 AM Post #10 of 15

MoxMonkey

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Seaside /img/forum/go_quote.gif
In my opinion, It is bit expensive but not complete rip off when I think about time and labor. You are going to need those service sooner or later, because your car gets old. It is the NYC, what do you expect?
biggrin.gif


However, if you know how to do that yourself, you will not spend more than half the estimate.

***

I recommend you ask them the breakdown estimate for parts and labor seperately. If they write something like... $10 per each spark plug.... or... 2 hours for replacing fuel filter..., I suggest you walk out of the store right away.




my plugs are ~$10 a pop so it depends (yay rotarys)
 
Jul 12, 2007 at 5:13 AM Post #11 of 15

euclid

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Quote:

Originally Posted by AuroraProject /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I would recommend changing the fuel filter if you have never had it done and care about fuel economy.


thats not somthing that he should do himself without previous car experience, it needs flare nut wrenches to prevent stripping the brass fittings and then the fuel hardline will be open which is dangerous.

FWIW i opened the fuel tank on a car i bought with 115,000 miles to change the pump and the tank was absoluletly spotless, no dibris. most people think fuel is loaded with crap but its really not, the fuel pump has a fine mesh screen surrounding it to filter out larger particals, plus all the fuel lines/fittings are brass and dont rust. i did chage the fuel filter on that car as part of the build b/c i ran larger injectors, but im not sure it was needed as you cant even open the filter case to see how the fabric looks, the whole unit just swaps out.

id do the ignition changes first, if you are noticing the car is still having starting problems or hesistation with no check engine light, then change the fuel filter. preventive maintenance is good when your not paying shop labor but a filter gradually getting dirty wont leave you stranded somewhere, youll notice those symtoms first and the motor will trim timing to prevent damage anyway. the injectors do need to be cleaned though b/c if they clog then you will melt a piston.

fuel economy is moot, changing the filter to potentially flow more fuel to the rail will not show a noticable improvent in MPG. the ECU is actively regulating the fuel flow to the combustion chamber via fuel injector opening time in miliseconds, if the motor is actually seeing less pressure from the fuel pump(i.e the filter is restricting it) it doesnt even know, the ECU sets its air/fuel/timing tables based on what the exhaust (O2 sensor) is telling it about the combustion richness, compared to the mass air sensor at the intake, throttle posistion sensor, and MAP sensor which basically measures the vacuum at the intake manifold and determines what % load the motor is running. the O2 sensor is critical for good MPG.

so the fuel filter becomes an issue only when its physically restricting the fuel pressure enough to prevent the fuel injector from delivering a rich enough mixture at its longest potential opening time. then the motor will lean out, the ECU will delay the ignition timing and the car will eventually start hesitiating at full throttle. the ECU is preventing (pre)detonation caused by a lean air/fuel ratio. this is sort of what happens when you put lower octane gas than a motor calls for, if the knock sensor is working then it wont harm the motor, the ECU will detect the pinging(pre-detonation) and just delay the timing which only decreases the engine performance.
 
Jul 12, 2007 at 5:23 AM Post #12 of 15

AuroraProject

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Yeah, I spent 12 years as a dealership tech, you could say cars and I are familiar (electrical diagnosis and driveability were my specialty). I didn't mean he should do it himself, but it should be changed during the service.
 
Jul 12, 2007 at 5:33 AM Post #13 of 15

euclid

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Quote:

Originally Posted by AuroraProject /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Yeah, I spent 12 years as a dealership tech, you could say cars and I are familiar (electrical diagnosis and driveability were my specialty). I didn't mean he should do it himself, but it should be changed during the service.


if he gets the service at all, which means hinged on that recomendation a fuel filter is going to cost $460, everything else on that list is routine.

i respect your professional experience as i have none, ill leave it at that.
 
Jul 12, 2007 at 5:46 AM Post #14 of 15

AuroraProject

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Quote:

Originally Posted by euclid /img/forum/go_quote.gif
if he gets the service at all, which means hinged on that recomendation a fuel filter is going to cost $460, everything else on that list is routine.

i respect your professional experience as i have none, ill leave it at that.



I agree, the majority of that list can be completed with little automotive experience, I certainly wont recommend he pay that if he's capable of doing the majority of the service himself. I do see where you are coming from. However if he's not comfortable or doesn't know anyone with even a little mechanical know-how he should probably just pay for the service. $460 is reasonable for a major (30K-60K-90K) service.

I also agree that he needs to inspect the t-belt before deciding on the major service, as that can add a whole lot of money to the bill.
 
Jul 12, 2007 at 5:58 AM Post #15 of 15

euclid

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yeah and you are definitely right about the timing belt and it should be mentioned as at least an option in that service list. it makes someone think that after that 100k mile service they are good to go for another long while but no attention has been paid to the belts.

from my experience those Midas type shops generally dont want to be bothered with people they cant rip off with little service bits they overcharge for. i wouldnt trust a chain-shop tech to do a timing belt, or even the shop to supplying a good quality belt in the first place. take the car to a dealer for that to get OEM parts, FWIW i would get an OEM fuel filter too i think the Honda OEM are $40

edit: in fact to err on the side of caution it would be a good idea for the OP to do the routine maintence himself and then take the car to the Honda dealer for them to inspect all the belts and change the fuel filter, compromise at is finest and should come in less than $450... but dont forget to lube the muffler bearings every 10k
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if you dont know how then i can do it for a reasonable fee.
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